Teacher Ruth Edge Honored in Ohio For Excellence

Follow Up Story
Posted on 04/02/2019
Image of Ruth Edge AwardOur congratulations to APS teacher Ruth Edge, who has received the 2019 Ohio Civil Rights Commission Excellence in Teaching Diversity Award. Ruth was nominated by Kristine Pytash and also by APS tutor Sarah Manka at JDC.

Ruth Edge was honored in February at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Art, Essay and Multimedia Contest awards ceremony at the Ohio History Connection in Columbus.

Ruth teaches social studies as part of the Akron Public Schools program at the Summit County Juvenile Detention Center.

For more on the award, visit crc.ohio.gov/PublicAffairs/MLKContest/ExcellenceinTeachingDiversity.aspx.

Following is the nomination letter by Sarah Manka:

Ohio Civil Rights Commission
Attn: PACE
30 E. Broad St., 5th Floor
Columbus, Ohio 43215

Dear Ohio Civil Rights Commission:

Ms. Ruth Edge is the Akron Public Schools Social Studies teacher at the Juvenile Detention Center (JDC). She is my colleague and my Resident Educator Mentor, and in the two years I have known Ms. Edge, I have observed exemplary teaching skills that make her an optimal candidate for the 2019 Excellence in Teaching Diversity Award.

An inspiring educator, Ms. Edge is always prepared with thought-provoking Civil Rights assignments. Her class curriculum has emphasized the atrocities of the Holocaust, slavery and aspects of human trafficking. In her unit on Martin Luther King Jr., the students prepared posters showcasing the Civil Rights Movement and more specifically the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

Ms. Edge also incorporates current events into her classroom, often using newspaper headlines to spur lively discussion of human rights violations and issues. Most recently, Ms. Edge arranged for a speaker from Heroes For Hope to speak about sexual abuse crimes and their effect on society. The students realized from the post-discussion that we all have a social responsibility within a community to report and prevent abuse.

This year, Ms. Edge focused on the 9-11 bombing of the World Trade Center Towers and the effect the event had on the United States government policies. Her ability to bring relevance to the students is outmatched. The unit on the Tuskeegee Airman during the WW II conflict further showed the students the racial bias and other problems facing minorities. This elite group of fighter pilots included five Haitians, a man from Trinidad and one Latino airman. Ms. Edge was able to show how people of all races have conquered racial bias to become great leaders.

Kent State pre-service education students -- some with no teaching experience ever -- have been invited through Ms. Edge’s collaboration to instruct our students here at the JDC. She encourages aspiring educators to be better prepared as future teachers in the work force. Edge opens up opportunities by getting the education community involved. She cares about how people become better teachers.

The students at the Juvenile Detention Center have entered poetry in the WICK Poetry Workshops because of Ms. Edge’s encouragement. Some students have won the poetry contest and had their poetry published in the paper and a poetry collection. Again, Ms. Edge demonstrates her desire to make students better by pushing them into areas they normally would not pursue.

The Cleveland Playhouse troupe performed a play on bullying due to Ms. Edge’s invitation. The theme of bullying is often discussed in the public schools, but the play emphasized the effects of bullying more effectively than other media would have. Ms. Edge keenly realized the high impact of the Cleveland Playhouse performance and wisely intertwined this event in her curriculum. Ms. Edge involved the theatrical community, showing her willingness to engage society at large with her lesson plans at the JDC.

An African refugee was invited by Ms. Edge to speak on his escape from his war-torn country. The students were entranced by the speaker’s recanting of hiding in the jungle to escape violence and genocide. The JDC population had no idea of the hardships facing citizens of our world, but their exposure to the pursuit of freedom and liberty was perfectly expressed by this African man. Ms. Edge incorporated yet another way to connect the students to a bigger vision of our human community.

On a more personal level, I have worked with Ms. Edge on my Resident Educator Licensure advancement. She is always willing to examine my work prior to submission, to meet with me when necessary and to make suggestions to help me become a more proficient teacher. Her teaching experience gives me a good example to follow for my own lesson planning. Ms. Edge performs her duties as a mentor during her spare time, both during her planning period at the Juvenile Detention Center and evening classes we attend together.

Ruth Edge has been an excellent teacher in many ways because of her passion for civil rights advocacy and she demonstrates her passion through her teaching methods at the JDC. Ms. Edge would be an superior candidate for the 2019 Excellence in Teaching Diversity Award.


Sarah J. Manka
Title I Reading Tutor

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